‘Personal Librarian’ chosen as 2023 Sarasota County One Book selection
A book of historical fiction about the personal librarian to J.P. Morgan, and the first director of the Morgan Library and Museum has been chosen as Sarasota County’s One Book One Community selection for 2023.
Victoria Christopher Murray, who wrote “The Personal Librarian” with Marie Benedict, will be a guest of the Sarasota County Libraries and Historical Resources for two discussions about the work on March 3.
Arts NewsletterSign up to receive the latest news on the Sarasota area arts scene every Monday
Theater, music, art, dance and moreYour February guide to 60-plus arts events in the Sarasota-Manatee area
'A real concern'How Sarasota arts groups are trying to attract younger audiences
“The Personal Librarian” tells the story Belle da Costa Greene, who was hired by Morgan in the early 1900s for his new Pierpont Morgan Library. She became a fixture in New York social circles and one of the most powerful people in the art and book world, known for her taste as she built a world-class library. But she hid the truth about her background. She was the daughter of Richard Greener, the first Black graduate of Harvard University who became a prominent advocate for equality, including pushing for the Civil Rights Act of 1875. She “passed” as white, explaining she was of Portuguese heritage.
Published in 2021, “The Personal Librarian” was named one of the top 10 historical fiction novels by Booklist and was named a “Favorite of Favorites” by Library Reads. It made The New York Times hardcover fiction bestseller list.
Murray was recruited as coauthor by Benedict, who had learned about da Costa Greene’s story from a docent at the Morgan Library more than two decades ago. Murray is the author of more than 30 novels and the winner of nine African American Literary Awards for Fiction.
She will talk about the book at 10:30 a.m. March 3 at the Suncoast Technical College Conference Center, 4445 Career Lane, North Port, and at 7 p.m. that day at Selby Public Library, 1331 First St., Sarasota.
A play version of the book is being presented in area libraries and community centers by the Arts Alliance Playreaders, led and coordinated by Dianne Brin. Upcoming performances are at 2 p.m. Feb. 2 at the Fruitville Library; 1 p.m. Feb. 21 at the Shannon Staub Library; 2 p.m. March 28 at Gulf Gate Library and 3 p.m. March 30 at Selby Public Library.
Several libraries also have scheduled talks and other related programs about the book.
Over the years, the Sarasota One Book program has featured “The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind,” “Killers of the Flower Moon,” “The Boys in the Boat,” and the works of the late Sarasota writer John D. MacDonald.
For more information: scgov.net/onebook.
This article originally appeared on Sarasota Herald-Tribune: Sarasota One Book picks historical fictio novel ‘Personal Librarian’